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Reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) en route to victory in the German TT championship
Worlds time trial and Rio 2016 priorities for German
While Martin stated that his medium-term goal is to add to his three consecutive world time trial titles as he builds towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, he admitted that he is tempted by the prospect of tackling the world hour record.
"My immediate focus is on the world championships time trial and then, further off, on the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where the flat course along the Copacabana should suit me," Martin told Thüringer Allgemeine. "My rivals Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins also intend to go in the direction of the hour record. I see this, and I also have this ambition in the back of my mind. To be the fastest man in the world would be a nice title."
The hour record currently stands at 49.7km and was set by Ondrej Sosenka in Moscow in 2005. Sosenka’s career ended when he tested positive for methamphetamine at the Czech time trial championships three years later.
Potential record attempts by Martin and Cancellara would place a new emphasis on an event that has lost much of its lustre since the UCI opted to ban tri-bars and re-set the record to Eddy Merckx’s 49.431km from 1972.
The 1990s had seen a flurry of interest in the hour record, with Chris Boardman (1993 and 1996), Graeme Obree (1993 and 1994), Miguel Indurain (1994) and Tony Rominger (1994) all setting new bests, but their efforts – and those of Francesco Moser (1984) – were expunged from the record books.
Martin will also target a number of week-long stage races in 2014, but confirmed that, for now at least, he has no ambitions to try and race for a high overall finish in a Grand Tour.
"Because of its severity, the Tour de France is currently out of reach. I would lose too much [time trial] training from working on other qualities. The risk is too high for me," he said.
Instead, Martin declared himself ready to help Michal Kwiatkowski and new arrival Rigoberto Uran next July, as well as sprinter Mark Cavendish. "I have no airs and graces. I’m a team player who can protect guys like Michal Kwiatkowski and Rigoberto Uran from the wind. I celebrate when the team helps Mark Cavendish win a stage just as much as when I win a time trial."